ED opens US$10m tile, bricks plant

Africa Moyo and Munyaradzi Musiiwa
President Mnangagwa is today set to officially commission the US$10 million brick and tile manufacturing plant at Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC) on the outskirts of Gweru.

Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Larry Mavima confirmed the scheduled commissioning of the plant last night.

“President Emmerson Mnangagwa will tomorrow (today) commission a brick manufacturing plant at Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company on the outskirts of Gweru,” said Minister Mavima.

“The commissioning of a new brick moulding plant is basically a welcome move in that we now have another player in the country.

“What it means is that it will provide additional bricks and competition, which in turn will have an effect on pricing.”

Minister Mavima added that the company will be making bricks from the by-product of the cement manufacturing plant, which means it will contribute significantly in the campaign to go green.

“This also means that there are employment opportunities being created,” said Minister Mavima.

SZCC managing director Mr Wang Yong has indicated that the brick and tile plant was now complete and is going through a test run.

The plant has capacity to produce 60 million bricks per annum. The first phase of the project has gobbled about US$10 million.

Mr Wang said they had brought world class machinery for brick moulding, making the factory modern.

“We will be producing bricks that include face bricks that are (currently) being imported. Initially we will be producing 60 million bricks per annum but when the entire project is complete, capacity will increase to 100 million bricks,” he said.

SZCC is operating at 90 percent capacity utilisation and plans to ramp up production.

It has about 400 employees and produces 300 000 tonnes of cement annually against a national demand of approximately 1,1 million tonnes.

The commissioning of the brick and tile manufacturing plant comes barely two weeks after President Mnangagwa commissioned $62 million smelter at Unki Mines.

Market watchers say the commissioning of the two projects within a short space of time indicates that investors, both existing and potential, have confidence in the new administration led by President Mnangagwa.

Since November 2017, President Mnangagwa’s Government has crafted several pro-business laws, particularly amendments to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act insofar as it relates to shareholding structures in the mining industry.

The amendments to the black economic empowerment law now allow foreigners to hold 100 percent shares in their mining investments, except in the diamond and platinum sectors.

A Diamond Policy has also been crafted which allows two foreign companies to partner the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in the mining of gems.

Already, Government has selected Alrosa of Russia and Anjin Investments of China to partner ZCDC.